The invention of something like jewelry does not come out of the blue sky. Somewhere and someday a man or a woman wants to make him/herself more beautiful. Or wants to show off to the others. She finds a great shell or fascinating stone and hangs it around her neck. A jewel is born. But how we know what those gorgeous pieces of jewelry look like? There two popular ways of finding out. You find beautiful pieces of jewelry in graves ánd jewelry on statues tells a lot about the jewelry.
In this blog post, I don’t describe the history of the jewel in this world. I just show you how you see looking at old jewelry on statues what kind of jewelry is fashionable in those days. And how it influences our temporary jewelry trends. Because one thing is a fact: old trends are coming back. So don’t throw your old wardrobe and jewelry away. One day it becomes fashionable or ‘trendy’ again.
The jewelry of Nefertiti
Queen or Pharaoh Nefertiti is a beautiful lady. Some say the most beautiful of Egypt, but then you get problems with Cleopatra. Her name means ‘a beautiful woman has come’ or Nefertiti.
This statue is made of limestone and painted in layers with stucco. Nefertiti lives in the 14th century BC, but a German archeologist discovers this statue in 1912. He brings the statue to the Egyptian Museum of Berlin/Germany. And on the jewelry on statues, you see that in those days large necklaces were fashion
What the jewelry on statues show…
Looking at this statue you know that Nefertiti is not only a beautiful woman, but also a powerful one. She wears a blue crown with an aesculape. That means that she stands about next to her husband and reigns too. She wears a gorgeous necklace with green, blue (light and darker), red to orange gemstones set in gold. Probably the gemstones are lapis lazuli, malachite and coral.
The necklace is a statement necklace. It is long and falls over her breasts. This is what one calls ‘trendy’ jewelry of those days. But also in our time, you see necklaces or chokers like this, only a bit shorter. She is not wearing any earrings. Earrings become custom in Egypt with Pharaoh Tutmosis and he reigns just after her and her husband Akhnaton. Incredible what you can find out looking at the jewelry on statues.
The jewelry on statues of a Cyprus lady
This statue of the lady with ‘the big nose’ is found in Kyra Ayios in Cyprus and dates from 625-600 BC. That is the time of the Idalion Kingdom. The time that Cyprus had a strong connection with the Fenician Kingdom (now Libanon). The material of the statue is terracotta.
More interesting for this blog post is the great view at the jewelry on statues to see what type of jewelry this lady wears. On her head, she wears a huge tiara, which is not fixed in her hair like nowadays but goes all around her head. It looks like she has two tiaras on top of each other.
Then the earrings. At the moment statement earrings are trendy, but these ones are something more than a statement. Just below the tiara and on the spot where you expect some ears you see a kind of folded hood. It looks made of gold that is draped around her ears. In the last century, you see them in the Netherlands too as part of a traditional costume of the women in Zeeland (a province in the Netherlands). Those hoods are tightened to a cap in our costume. Maybe the hoods of this lady stick to the tiara.
And that is not all…
Under that ear hoods, you see large earrings hanging down. I see about three of four earring elements hanging down from her ears. We go further down and there you see 4 chokers around her neck, with a vertical pendant on each of them. The necklaces are clearly beaded and probably made of gemstones.
Although I always advise not to dress up like a Christmas tree. With so much jewelry so that you don’t see how beautiful each part is. Clearly this lady does not know me and does not listen to me. She surely wants to state that she is rich and able to afford a lot of jewelry. And she wants to show it.
On the other hand in this way you recognize a lot of types of jewelry that we know too. Or this jewelry is the base of our jewelry? The necklaces are a kind of stacked choker, which is popular now. That is… either stacked necklaces or one choker, not together. Large earrings are ‘hot’ now and wearing more than one pair of earrings is too. Jeweler designers find in this jewelry on statues a lot of inspiration to make the so-called modern jewelry.
The jewelry on statues of a fan of Aphrodite
From the 12th until the 4th century BC the temple of Aphrodite (or Venus) is a rich center of worshipping in Cyprus. Aphrodite is the goddess of fertility and she has a lot of followers. Followers give statues to the temple, representing the goddess or themselves. You can see the jewelry on statues, beautiful dresses, and adornments. Between 1950 and 1955 this temple is excavated and they find beautiful female statues (only the heads) and 12 statues of young men.
One of the heads is this statue of a richly bejeweled lady with an Egyptian hairstyle.
A lot of pieces of jewelry
Looking at the ears you see about 4 separate pairs of earrings. It looks as if she has earholes with a small hoop earring in each of them. She will not look funny in those days with them.
Then she wears a 6 strand beaded choker with a kind of cameo. Under the choker is a 2 strand beaded necklace with a pendant and a statement 2 strand necklace which is huge. Also here the fashion of stacked necklaces is old, very old.
Looking at the jewelry on statues, made ages and ages ago, you still recognize the type of jewelry that we wear today. You see beaded necklaces, pendants, chokers, and stacked necklaces. The ladies in those days love statement earrings and even wear a few of these giants together. Also the tiara, popular last winter is there. And these are not the only pieces of jewelry on statues you can study the history of jewelry. There are many and many more.
What I want to say here is that it is a base, one proto-type in jewelry, like a necklace, earrings, etc. That proto-type is used over and over again. Trends come and go and they are still based on that one proto-type. I hear you say… this is easy for a jewelry designer. Just copy and that is that. No it is not that. As a jeweler designer you use that proto-type but with other techniques, other material but for all your imagination, your own style and emotion you make new jewelry. Every time you design some jewel it has to be unique, one of a kind, only made for one special woman.
Because jewelry is a kind of emotion or a kind of memory that cannot be duplicated. Therefore FlorenceJewelshop only makes unique pieces of jewelry, for that special lady, you. I get bored when I have to make the same piece of jewelry over and over again. It has to stay a challenge. Do you agree?
Wearing jewelry is not only the emotion and memories of the person who gave us the jewelry, but we also want to look astonishing with it. Do you know what jewelry looks best on you? Do you know what jewelry accentuates your best features and maybe camouflage your minor ones?
FlorenceJewelshop published a brand new PDF with all the answers to the questions above, and much more. It is free of charge. Just let me know where I can send it to.
Hug, Florence of FlorenceJewelshop